Yemen

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Food prices increase as currency depreciation hits record low
  • Without additional resources, more people risk falling into acute need category
  • Aid agencies gear up in response to flooding
  • Prolonged fuel crisis worsens the humanitarian situation
  • Strategic field visits by humanitarian leadership in Yemen
Yemen Humanitarian Update No. 7, July 2021
A health care worker attends to a child suffering from malnutrition at the Al-Sadaqa Hospital in Aden Governorate in November 2020. Photo credit: Mahmoud Fadel/YPN

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Yemen

Situation Report

Key Figures

20.7M
People in Need
12.1M
People in Acute Need
4M
Displaced People

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Contacts

Sajjad Sajid

Head of Office

Tapiwa Gomo

Head of Communication

Yemen

Situation Report
Background
exchange rate

Food prices increase as currency depreciation hits record low

The depreciation of the Yemeni Rial and the disparity in monetary policies continue to contribute to a widening exchange rate gap between the north and south of Yemen, making it increasingly difficult for ordinary citizens to afford basic necessities including food, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) – a provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity.

In the south, the Yemeni Rial dropped from YER 900 per USD in May 2021 to over YER 1,000 per USD by end-July 2021 on the parallel market; the overall depreciation represents a more than 36 per cent loss of value compared to the same time last year. Meanwhile, in the north, the exchange rate has remained relatively stable since late 2019, remaining below YER 600 per USD. Before the war, the Rial traded at YER 215 to the US dollar.

The depreciation of the Yemeni Rial is a major driver of food insecurity in import-dependent Yemen, where millions of people cannot afford enough food to get them through the day. Food prices have risen by at least one-third in six of Yemen’s 22 governorates in the first five months of this year, and there is a double-digit rise of 10 per cent or more in food prices in 15 out of 22 governorates. Yemen has not experienced such a rapid increase in food prices since late 2018, when the country was last on the brink of famine, with foreign currency injections at the time helping to avert famine by stabilizing the economy. By June 2021, the minimum food basket costs YER 9,133 per person in the south and YER 6,453 in the north, highlighting significantly higher food prices than in 2018 – by 62 per cent in the south and more than 18 per cent in the north.

While the impact of the Rial’s devaluation is worst in the south, where families in Lahj, Aden and Abyan governorates have seen prices increase by a third since the start of the year, insufficient food consumption – a measure of hunger tracked by food security partners – has surpassed the ‘very high’ threshold of 40 percent in eight governorates (Al Jawf, Amran, Shabwah, Al Bayda, Abyan, Ad Dali’, Lahj, Raymah) after a temporary decline during Ramadan in May. Insufficient food consumption is above 30 per cent in a further seven (Hajjah, Sana’a City, Sana’a, Ma’rib, Dhamar, Ibb, Ta’iz).

To help families cope with rising food prices, WFP has increased the cash assistance amount since 1 July. Yet it remains challenging to keep pace with such rapid price increases which threaten to worsen an already critical hunger crisis. WFP has also increased food assistance in all famine-risk areas since the start of the year as additional funds have become available. However, some 3 million of the 13 million people WFP supports with food assistance still only receive food assistance on alternate months as funding remains uncertain.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Visual

food basket price

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Yemen

Situation Report
Background

Without additional resources, more people risk falling into acute need category

By the end of July 2021, the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was less than 48 per cent funded. While donors have generously stepped up support compared to 2020, mainly for food security, the response remains fragile, particularly in other sectors. Without sustained, predictable and flexible funding, aid agencies’ ability to maintain the current level of response until the end of the year is at risk.

Yemen entered 2021 at high risk of descending into deeper crisis, with tens of thousands of people living in famine-like conditions. More than 20.1 million people in the country require some form of humanitarian and protection assistance due to a combination of factors including escalating hostilities, economic collapse, decreased government capacity, severe shortage of humanitarian funding and access challenges. Of these, 12.1 million people are in acute need. Cases of acute malnutrition among children under five are the greatest ever recorded and preventable diseases are pervasive, including COVID-19.

Without additional resources to scale up the response across sectors, more people risk falling into the acute need category as they exhaust coping strategies and slide into greater levels of need. Due to limited funding, some agencies may be forced to reduce programmes from September 2021 onwards, including in water and sanitation, health, shelter, and other sectors. The consequences of this will be catastrophic for millions of people. Advocacy efforts continue for overall funding to be increased across all sectors, to ensure that lasting gains in food security are underpinned by improvements across all sectors. For more information on humanitarian response, please see the response dashboard.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Emergency Response

Aid agencies gear up in response to flooding

In late July, for the second time this year, torrential rains and widespread flooding hit Yemen, damaging infrastructure, destroying homes and shelters and causing deaths and injuries. Local media has reported that a bridge linking the al-Musaimir area of Lahj Governorate with Ta’iz City was damaged. Authorities in Sana’a also reported that operations at several Al-Thawra Hospital units were temporarily suspended due to heavy rains. There were also reports of the authorities in Sana’a dispatching teams to rescue four people in two drowning incidents at Shahak dam in At Tyal District and Sayan dam in Sanhan District. The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) had issued a warning on 25 July of heavy rains and potential flooding in some areas.

Alongside providing initial rapid response, humanitarian partners are conducting assessments in the affected areas to determine the extent of the damage to infrastructure and humanitarian needs. Regional Coordination Teams (RCTs) in collaboration with Clusters in the flood-affected areas are also tallying the figures of the affected people. To facilitate a swift response and to provide inter-sectoral assistance to affected people, humanitarian partners had operationalized a nationwide Flood Preparedness Plan. The plan ensures the continuity of life-saving assistance delivery to affected people and allows for a quick scaleup of the response where necessary. When flooding occurred between mid-April and June this year, partners delivered assistance through the rapid response mechanism and met needs for food, shelter and non-food items, health, nutrition, protection and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance, while Camp Coordination Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster partners helped verify figures and continue working on flood mitigation measures at site level.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Feature

Prolonged fuel crisis worsens the humanitarian situation

The protracted fuel crisis that started in mid-2020, mainly in the north, continues to negatively affect livelihoods and put upward pressure on the prices of food, water and other essential goods, compounding the already difficult humanitarian situation. At least three months’ fuel supply is needed to sustain the importation and distribution of essential goods without risking the supply chain.

In June this year, four fuel tankers entered the Al Hodeidah seaport and discharged 88,689 metric tonnes (mt) of fuel. This is a 38 per cent decrease in fuel quantities discharged compared to the 2020 average (142,221 mt) and a 37 per cent decrease compared to the monthly average (141,562 mt) since May 2016, according to United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM).

In July 2021, two commercial fuel tankers berthed at the Al Hodeidah seaport. One fuel tanker discharged 14,992 mt of gas oil on 19 July, with the second one in the process of discharging 29,066 mt of fuel oil and gas oil. A day earlier, a fuel tanker with 29,987 mt of gas oil cancelled its UNVIM clearance request due to delays in receiving its letter of credit. As of 27 July, three fuel tankers with a combined cargo of 47,284 mt of fuel were waiting in the holding area after receiving UNVIM clearances.

On 27 July, the official price for fuel in the north stood at YER 8,500 per 20 liters, compared with YER 11,500 for 20 liters at the unofficial market. Meanwhile, areas in the south witnessed availability and stability in the quantities and prices of fuel in the last three months, with fuel selling at YER 560 per liter in Aden, Lahj, Abyan and Ad Dali᾽ and YER 500 per liter in Hadramawt. However, on 24 July, the oil company at the Hadramawt coast announced a 20 per cent increase in the prices of both gasoline and diesel, raising the per liter price from YER 500 to YER 600, making it the highest price on the market in the south.

Across Yemen, rising fuel prices are exacerbating the increase in food prices due to the deteriorating economic situation, with areas in the south most severely affected. Overall, livelihoods activities are expected to face reduced production due to the significantly above-average fuel prices, while transportation costs are also soaring, preventing people from traveling to access markets or to reach lifesaving assistance and medical treatment.

Some aid agencies’ ability to deliver assistance is also being affected. Health and WASH cluster partners have noted that fuel shortages are impacting efforts to reduce and prevent the spread of diseases such as COVID-19, cholera and other water-borne diseases. An estimated 4.39 million people receiving WASH services will likely be impacted by fuel shortages and attendant price hikes for water – especially internally displaced people. Also impacted is the delivery of nutrition services, mainly outpatient therapeutic feeding programmes as well as both targeted and blanket supplementary feeding programmes. The Shelter Cluster has reported delays in the distribution of aid, assessments and delivery of supplies for the construction and rehabilitation of shelters, mainly in Sana’a and Ta’iz governorates. Protection Cluster partners are also having to resort to reducing the number of meetings and activities in remote areas, compelling a reduction in protection activities including psychosocial support, legal aid and needs assessments.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Coordination
HC in Sa'ada
Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly, is briefed by a healthcare worker in Hospital, one of the key health facilities in Sa′dah Governorate on 13 June 2021. Photo credit: OCHA.

Strategic field visits by humanitarian leadership in Yemen

To take stock of humanitarian needs and protection concerns of communities, several strategic visits to six governorates have been undertaken over the past two months by the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) for Yemen, David Gressly, and the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator (DHC) for Yemen, Diego Zorrilla. Some of these visits were conducted together with the respective authorities, to facilitate a shared understanding of the humanitarian situation and to develop more effective and efficient response solutions.

In June, the HC undertook a four-day mission to Sa’dah and Hajjah governorates, which face emergency levels of food insecurity and high acute malnutrition rates. He met with internally displaced families and visited centers providing vital healthcare and nutrition services to tens of thousands of people each month with the support of aid partners. Nearly 700,000 people in Sa’dah are in acute need of humanitarian assistance, with some 670,000 people facing crisis-level food insecurity and more than 237,500 people facing emergency levels of food insecurity; in Hajjah, some 2.12 million people need humanitarian assistance, including 649,000 people in emergency levels of food insecurity and 15,500 people enduring extremely critical acute malnutrition levels and starvation. The HC jointly undertook this mission with the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (SCMCHA), who also partook in discussions with local authorities on issues including support for health facilities, humanitarian access, and the shift to more sustainable, longer-term interventions such as improving local infrastructure. Follow-ups are underway to ensure response for some of the critical needs that were identified in line with the HRP.

In July, two separate missions were conducted to Amran Governorate, first by the DHC and then by the HC. According to the Joint Intersector Analysis Framework (JIAF), which analyzes the multiple needs of populations in crisis, some 894,194 people in Amran have a severity score of 4, indicating extreme needs. This is characterized by the collapse of living standards, widespread grave violations of human rights and the presence of irreversible harm and heightened mortality. During their visits, the HC and DHC advocated for constructive engagement and collaboration between aid partners and the authorities to ensure that these needs can be met, including for the urgent scaling up of the response to areas in Al Madan and Huth districts, where some 76,500 people face catastrophic needs severity.

Two interagency missions led by the HC were also undertaken in July, respectively to Sa’dah Governorate and to Ta’iz and Al Hodeidah governorates. In Sa’dah, impediments to access were discussed with the authorities, as were specific sectorial concerns and the need to improve the capacity of local partners to meet the needs of people in the governorate. From 26 to 30 July the HC, OCHA and partners visited At Turbah City, Ta’iz City and Al Makha districts in Ta’iz Governorate, as well as districts in southern Al Hodeidah Governorate, accompanied by representatives from the Government of Yemen’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC), Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs (MoFEA) and Executive Unit for Internally Displaced Persons (ExU). Throughout their mission, which included visits to IDP sites, COVID-19 isolation centers and medical facilities, the delegation met with local authorities and humanitarian partners as well as women and youth groups to discuss the humanitarian situation, challenges and needs, and how to improve the response.

Additionally, from 12 to 14 July, the DHC led an interagency mission to Ma’rib Governorate, which has seen intense escalations in conflict since February this year. Over the course of the visit, the delegation visited two IDP sites and met with local authorities, who highlighted the needs of people displaced in the governorate and underscored the pressure the additional displacement is putting on host communities and public services, noting that public infrastructure such as electricity, water networks, hospitals and schools are most stretched. The DHC was also able to take stock of the implementation of the Ma’rib Operational Plan, including the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) enabled scale-up of support for filling critical gaps in delivering lifesaving aid to over 200,000 displaced people in the governorate.

Across all missions, the HC and DHC advocated for strengthening engagement with local authorities to develop a shared understanding of humanitarian priorities, and to address challenges hindering the principled delivery of humanitarian assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in Yemen. The country remains the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with more than 20.1 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Feature
civilian casualties

Civilian casualties spike again

Fighting escalated along several fronts in June and July 2021, with devastating consequences for civilians – the number of civilian casualties has reached levels not seen in Yemen since the signing of the Stockholm Agreement on 13 December 2018.

June 2021 was the deadliest month for civilians in nearly two years, with hostilities killing or injuring 249 civilians, according to the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project (CIMP). Many of the civilian casualties in June occurred in Ma’rib Governorate, where offensives that escalated in February this year continue. This includes attacks in densely populated Ma’rib City, where attacks on 10 June and on 29 June resulted in 35 civilian casualties and 13 civilian casualties respectively.

Fighting continued in July, particularly intensifying in Al Bayda Governorate. While the civilian impact has been limited here, the trend towards wider escalation is concerning. Clashes also resumed in Abyan Governorate, leaving at least two civilians dead. While fighting has subsided, tensions remain high. Aid agencies continue to call on all parties to the conflict to avoid harming civilians and civilian objects throughout military operations.

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Yemen

Situation Report
Emergency Response
YHF

US$50 million targets marginalized and most vulnerable groups

In July, the Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF) allocated US$50 million to respond to the critical needs of the most vulnerable people in Yemen. The allocation aims to contribute towards improving living conditions, access to assistance and protection for people with disabilities, minority groups such as the Muhamasheen, female-headed households, vulnerable children, and other people with specific needs.

It will also support the scale-up of integrated lifesaving responses for people in acute need in hard-to-reach, frontline and under-served areas where the severity of needs are high, such as As Sawadiyah District in Al Bayda Governorate, Abs District in Hajjah Governorate, and Bayt Al Faqih and Hays districts in Al Hodeidah Governorate. Aid agencies receiving these funds will also scale up the provision of emergency lifesaving assistance and protection to acutely vulnerable internally displaced people, refugees, migrants and host communities who are most at risk due to recent clashes and displacements.

This is in addition to the provision of lifesustaining services and protection to improve the resilience of the most vulnerable people in acute need. Of 72 project proposals, 62 were selected for funding and the YHF team is working with partners on technical reviews of the selected projects prior to the start of the disbursement in August. Approximately $46 million (92 per cent of the allocation) will go to international and national NGOs as well as Red Crescent Societies (RCS), while $4 million (8 per cent) will go to UN agencies. Of the $46 million going to NGOs and RCS, $31 million will be provided to international NGOs, $13 million to national NGOs and $2 million to RCS. The funding allocated to national NGOs will amount to 26 per cent of the allocation, exceeding the Grand Bargain commitment on localization of aid.

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